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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Behaviour payments for prisoners criticised by victims of homicide group

Each prisoner is eligible for a gratuity amount that is fixed by the Minister for Justice.

Image: Prisoner via Shutterstock

PAYMENTS THAT ARE given to prisoners to incentivise good behaviour – are coming under fire today.

AdVIC, the advocacy group for families of victims of homicide, is criticising the Irish Prison Service for its policy of providing these payments.

The Irish Prison Service told TheJournal.ie that the objective of the incentivised regimes is, “to provide tangible incentives to prisoners to participate in structured activities and to reinforce incentives for good behaviour, leading to a safer and more secure environment”.

The criticism comes after reports that €3.8 million has been given to detainees of the State’s fourteen prison’s since 2009.

AdVIC is arguing that this is unfair, considering that only €25,000 is provided annually for bereavement counselling for families of victims of homicide.

John Whelan, AdVIC chairman, said:

It is absolutely astounding that we are paying criminals to behave well, when the State does not provide adequate services to victims such as bereavement counselling for families of victims of homicide.

“We have a criminal justice system that is completely balanced in favour of criminals. Not only are prisoners’ sentences automatically reduced by a quarter before they even step foot in a prison due to remission, now it turns out the State is giving them money for things like sweets.”

The prison service says, “gratuity allows prisoners to purchase items from the prison tuck shop during their sentence and/or to save money which may be transferred to family members during sentence or be used to assist reintegration on release.

Some prisoners are dependent on the gratuity while in prison either because their families are not in a position to support them financially or because they have no external family support.

Read: Over 90% of the beds in Irish prisons are taken>

Read: Irish Prison Service honoured with new commemorative stamps>

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